What is sublimation printing? A Comprehensive Guide (2020)

The Complete Guide

What is sublimation printing? You’re a newbie in print on demand apparel, or you’re having problems with quality control. Let’s take into consideration all over sublimation printers – one of the best comprehensive solutions for customizing your personalized products now. 

What is sublimation printing?

You’re overwhelmed with the complex definition of this strange-looking word “sublimation” – just take it easy. In simple terms, sublimation printing is the digital printing technique that is widely used in sublimation print on demand. It is the chemical process of transferring a design onto the solid materials and fabrics by using ink and heat of sublimation. 

Bypassing the traditional liquid stage is one of the most interesting facts about sublimation printing. The key is the dye sublimation. It allows you to go seam-to-seam for the whole garment prints with high resolution, vivid color graphics, and high fastness. 

Pros of sublimation printing

  • Easy to customize

Flashy galaxy background? Striking Christmas patterns? Don’t worry! Sublimation printing will do it for you. In terms of traditional printing, you are only charged for one separate printing application – whereas, this all over dye sublimation printing can cover a big surface space by incorporating a wide range of designs and printing in one go. Moreover, this printing method also creates an impressive vibrancy for your products.  

  • Say goodbye to “cracking”, “peeling”, and “fading”

The longevity of the designs is a big plus of sublimation printing. The striking conversion of the production process allows sublimation dye to integrate into the surface of your diverse materials permanently. Undoubtedly, scratching, cracking, peeling, or fading cannot occur after washing several times. 

  • Easy learning curve 

What’s more, the short and easy learning curve is exceptional. Sublimation printing has a fast learning process. You can easily produce a large number of your orders within the same day. 

  • No minimum orders

Sublimation printing can be suitable with both small amounts of orders and bulk ones. Therefore, it becomes a preferred option for newer-generation business owners. It is unnecessary to fix a minimum print run. The cost still remains the same whether you print 1 or 1000 units of product.

Cons of sublimation printing

  • Only print on light colors

Sublimation on dark-colored areas is impossible because there is no white sublimation ink for printing. Therefore, you only apply this printing method to light-colored print areas to get the most vivid colors. 

  • Not compatible with all materials

Although it is available to rigid materials, not all fabrics are suitable for sublimating. This all over sublimation printing is only advisable for garments that include 100% polyester or at least 50% polyester. In spite of being applicable to cotton fabric, the color fastness will not be guaranteed for a long time. 

  • White ceasing

Another potential problem you can face is white ceasing. Several areas are unreached and cannot be sublimated. Other potential reasons are unexpected folding or moisture accumulation on the transfer paper. It creates white streaks causing a loss of aesthetics to the product. 

  • Ghosting

Ghosting often occurs when shifting the transfer paper during the pressing process. It can make a light fade or blur when you do not apply the right level of pressure or when sublimation ink is not dry. To solve this issue, you have to keep the appropriate level of pressure as well as keep the ink dry before putting on the fabric. 

*, Note: To save your time and effort, you should test out some designs before applying them in bulk, which can help you save both time and money. Getting started with simple creations is better than all-over design covering all of the fabric.

Why is sublimation printing better?

Is it truly “a luxury” to get started making money with sublimation printing? Sublimation all over printing becomes one of the most cost-effective ways of creating your customizing products due to its low initial investment. With the range from $500 to $4000, you can completely recoup your investment from just 2-3 projects. If you have no time and resources to put into sublimation printers, a print on demand supplier will take care of it for you. 

Moreover, you’re easy to create striking products in many maker spaces with its full-color printing. Screen printing could be more efficient with its quick printing speed and simple designs. However, sublimation printing is a good choice in most cases.    

>>> Finding the professional print on demand and fulfillment services, find PrintHolo!

How does it work?

So, how does the all over dye sublimation printing actually work? Let’s lose your fear and get in-depth insights into the step-by-step process of this appealing printing method.

Step 1: Drafting the sublimation designs 

Firstly, it is necessary for you to create the sublimated graphics and symmetrical layout for each separate piece of your garment including front, back, arms, and cuffs. This file will be printed onto the transfer paper. 

Step 2: Printing the design onto transfer paper with sublimation inks through the sublimation printing process

Your designs will be printed onto sublimation transfer paper by using specialized sublimation inks. Under the pressure of the intense heat (between 350 and 420 degrees Fahrenheit), solidified inks (in the cartridge) turn into a gas. At the same time, the pores expand, then gas easily deeps into the fabric.

After that, when getting rid of the heat, ink cools down, then quickly resumes its solid form without any liquid stage. Therefore, sublimation inks embed permanently into the fabric instead of being a top layer of the fabric.

Step 3: Cutting and sewing the individual pieces of sublimate prints

After printing, you will get the long bolt of dyed fabric with a high-definition print according to your fixed design specifications. Just cutting and sewing together, you finish the final garments. 

Which types of materials can be used for sublimating?

Relevant materials of sublimation printing are man-made polymers including polyester and PVC. Particularly, the best conditions of sublimating can be hard materials such as a polyester-coated aluminum sheet, ceramic tiles, or soft materials such as polycotton textiles. Therefore, this method is perfect for 100% polyester, polymer-coated, or polymer-blend material with its high poly content such as t-shirts, hoodies, and hard souvenirs such as a ceramic coffee mug, Christmas ornament, and canvas.

Which designs can you use for sublimating?

There are many elements that impact all over products such as temperature, humidity, printer settings, color system, which causes a few color deviations. Basically, the sublimation process creates long-lasting colors, lively designs with impressive effects. Just remember, you must implement with CMYK color on light-colored print areas to get the best results.

*, Note: Here are two ways that you can check and convert the color system in your file design:

  • Option 1: Open your image in Adobe Photoshop. Select “Image” on the Main Menu, continue to press “Mode” -> “CMYK Color”
  • Option 2: Select “Edit” on the Main Menu, continue to press “Convert to File”. In the Profile section, there are many options to fit your printing requirements. To change the color system from RGB to CMYK, select “Working CMYK – U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2”, your design file has been converted to the CMYK color system.

PrintHolo – Top products for sublimation printing 

Aside from its striking advantages, whilst the sublimation process, multiple areas around the seams can be folded and ignored. To fix this error, all kinds of PrintHolo products apply cut and sew sublimation printing.

Boost your store with sublimation printing shirts, why not? More than that, here is a list of several sublimation printing examples for your store in this upcoming holiday season. 

Wanna try and create your own sublimation products for your new store, do not miss our special promotion – getting a sample of a 3D hoodie is only $1. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to share with PrintHolo to get immediate support.

Author lypk

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